Matt first tried to get me to do eat nothing but whole foods by saying he'd be vegan for a day if I'd eat only foods my grandma would recognize. No problem, I told him. He said that meant no cereal, a known weakness of mine. "Are you kidding?" I asked him. "My grandma loved cereal!" It was true--raisin bran, Rice Krispies, Fruity Pebbles--there were always several boxes to choose from in her cupboard. Matt amended his idea to be a whole day eating nothing but whole foods and the Whole Food for a Day Challenge was born. I was in. I am in.
I'm already vegan and try to eat mostly organic. I make sure to eat fruits and veggies, good proteins and grains every day. For the last couple of months I've been eating out less so more in charge of what I ingest. I've noticed I've leaned out a little and feel overall better. Yet I know I've still become lazy in how I eat. I used to love trying new recipes and have several favorite cookbooks with bookmarks and stains of food splattered on the pages. Now I eat the same things over and over throughout the week and just assemble things from packaging--frozen foods, cans, boxes without considering what's really on the inside of those packages and how it affects me and the planet. So the idea of eating foods with only 1 ingredient would simply further the progression of my diet to being healthier, more interesting and creative, and less wasteful. I know it'll help me really consider what I put in my body, what I buy and what I waste.
Speaking about this with people over the last week the one concern people voiced was cost. Isn't it more expensive to buy food that way? I didn't think so and my grocery bill proved it. Take away the cereal, soy-yogurts, almond milk and dinner I bought at Whole Foods last night and my bill would've been less than $60. I focused on the produce and bulk sections and walked out with apples, bananas, avocados, melon, pineapple, sweet potato, spinach, carrots, celery, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, quinoa, almonds, raisons and even freshly ground almond and peanut butters. As Matt so lovingly putt it, I eat a "shit ton" so believe me when I proudly say this is a lot of food. Not bad for $60, eh?
My personal concern has been protein. Usually I get a fair amount from a scoop of soy protein with my oatmeal in the morning, but since this is processed and doesn't follow the 1 ingredient rule, I have to drop it. Otherwise, I always mixed my proteins and get my requirements from many forms. But since soy is the only plant protein that is considered complete, I worried I'd need to start complimenting my protein sources in order to optimize my amino acid intake. I know I'm only doing whole foods for one day, so I shouldn't worry too much about what one day would do to me protein-wise, but I can't help but think in the long term. If I wanted to sustain this how complicated would my diet need to be? Shouldn't I already know this stuff anyway? Thankfully, a little research showed me the idea of protein complimenting is obsolete. As long as I eat a wide variety of foods, which I will and do, I will be fine.
I'm doing this tomorrow. I'm jazzed about it. I think it'll be interesting and easier than anyone can imagine. I'm hoping I'll be able to sustain it longer and see how I can reasonably incorporate it into my daily life. I'll tuck into a big bowl of cereal tonight, but I'm betting I won't miss it tomorrow.